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Summerhill Preparatory School Overcomes Landslide Challenges with Spectacular Open-Air Auditorium Classroom

Summerhill Preparatory School Overcomes Landslide Challenges with Spectacular Open-Air Auditorium Classroom

Nestled within the captivating and untouched riverine forest of the idyllic Hazyview region in South Africa, lies Summerhill Preparatory School.

As a distinguished independent English-medium institution, the school cater to the educational needs of children from Grade 000 to Grade 7.

The remarkable location alongside the serene banks of a perennial stream grants the school the privilege of being one of the most vibrant and dynamic schools in the area, offering a wealth of opportunities for enriching outdoor education.

Recently, the school faced a formidable challenge when heavy rainfall triggered a troublesome landslide, impacting the area in close vicinity of some of the classrooms. Under the inspiring leadership of the exceptional Head, Mrs. Cheryl Calmeyer, the devoted staff, dedicated team, and supportive community remained steadfast in their commitment to preserving the ethos of GREEN education. Through engaging practical activities in the Eco-Adventure area, the school embarked on finding an eco-friendly solution to this predicament.

In their quest for a sustainable remedy, the school reached out to Fanie Joubert, the Director of Civil, Structural, and Eco-Solutions, and the representative of Gabion Baskets in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. With me. Cheryl Calmeyer’s guidance, Fanie Joubert was entrusted with the task of planning, designing, and implementing an environmentally friendly solution. Conducting a meticulous survey of the affected area, Fanie Joubert swiftly devised a stunning open-air auditorium classroom.

Overcoming challenges posed by consistent groundwater seepage and the highly erodible nature of the in-situ soil, Fanie and his team installed fin drains to effectively manage the water. Thanks to the detailed survey, Fanie was able to create a layout and design that perfectly suited the unique characteristics of the affected area and slope. This careful planning also allowed to preserve a beautiful, decorated concrete bench and fishpond, lovingly constructed by the talented learners.

The final design boasts six expansive platforms, each three meters wide, with the bottom platform stretching an impressive 21 meters in length. Stepping 1.5 meters on both sides, these platforms provide convenient walkways and easy access for everyone.

The benches, created by using high-quality 500x500mm gabions from Gabion Baskets, provide both strength and elegance. To ensure the learners’ safety and keep unwelcome creepy crawlies at bay, the exposed vertical sides of the gabions is lined with artificial grass.

The culmination of the efforts of everybody involved is an extraordinary addition to the well-run school. The finished product promises to be a truly unique asset, embodying the commitment to providing an exceptional educational environment.

Project in Pictures

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